Factors associated with continued solvent use in Indigenous petrol sniffers following treatment

Kylie Dingwall, Paul Maruff, Alan Clough, Sheree Cairney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction and Aims. While petrol sniffing afflicts several isolated Indigenous groups internationally, few studies have examined the factors contributing to continued sniffing following treatment. This study aims to describe those factors in a group of Aboriginal Australian users. Design and Methods. During residential treatment, 56 petrol sniffers completed baseline demographic and substance use questionnaires and cognitive and psychological assessments. Eighty per cent were reassessed and interviewed an average of 9months (SD=4) later. Cognitive, psychological, substance use and sociocultural factors were compared between those who relapsed at follow up and those who maintained abstinence. Results. More males (n=44) than females (n=12) were studied. Of the 45 individuals followed up, 58% (n=26) relapsed. Significant risk factors for relapse included the ready availability of petrol, living in urban centres, being unmarried and living with fewer people (P<0.05). Other potential risk factors, indicated by P-values<0.10, included younger age of first petrol use, having sniffed within 14days prior to treatment, poly substance use, sniffing in response to negative emotions, and feeling lonely at baseline and having sleep problems at follow up. Discussion and Conclusion. This study identified psychosocial factors that may be associated with continued petrol sniffing among Aboriginal Australians post treatment. Future research, interventions and policy relating to petrol sniffing should consider these factors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-46
    Number of pages7
    JournalDrug and Alcohol Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


    • Indigenous
    • Petrol sniffing
    • Relapse
    • Solvent


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